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To Have and to Uphold: The Common Language of Status-Preserving Countermovements

Jessica L. Roberts

University of Houston Law Center

February 13, 2009

National Black Law Journal, Spring 2009

This Article argues that countermovements intended to preserve existing status regimes share a common argumentative structure: the transformative framework. I begin by outlining existing legal scholarship on countermovements, most significantly Bill Eskridge's work on the antigay movement and Reva Siegel's theory of preservation through transformation. I then introduce the transformative framework, which posits that countermovements proceed through three distinct types of rhetoric--religious natural law, medical utilitarian, and social republican. I then apply the framework to a series of case studies from Reconstruction Alabama and pre-Loving Virginia. I conclude that countermovements adapt over time in a predictable pattern, a discovery which may help movements respond more readily to their opponents.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 26

Keywords: interracial marriage, anti-miscegenation laws, miscegenation, rhetoric, movement, countermovement, traditional family values, preservation, preservation through transformation, status regime, social hierarchy, race, norms, homosexuality

JEL Classification: Z00, K00, K19, K10, K19, K30, K39

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Date posted: April 7, 2008 ; Last revised: August 3, 2009

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Jessica L., To Have and to Uphold: The Common Language of Status-Preserving Countermovements (February 13, 2009). National Black Law Journal, Spring 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1116259

Contact Information

Jessica L. Roberts (Contact Author)
University of Houston Law Center ( email )
Houston, TX 77204
United States
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